Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

This Columbus Day Is Striking Testament to Justice Scalia’s Continuing Influence

Thirty-four years ago, mere weeks after becoming the first Italian American Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia celebrated Columbus Day by receiving the National Italian American Foundation’s award for public service. His beautiful speech on that occasion (“What Makes an American”) is the lead item in Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived, the New York Times bestseller that Christopher J. Scalia and I edited.

This Columbus Day provides a striking testament to Justice Scalia’s continuing influence in several ways:

The Senate Judiciary Committee has just begun its hearing on the nomination of former Scalia clerk Amy Coney Barrett (whom Scalia greatly admired) to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of Scalia’s dear friend Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, former Solicitor General (and former Scalia clerk) Paul Clement has an excellent review of The Essential Scalia: On the Constitution, the Courts, and the Rule of Law, the new collection of Scalia’s legal writings that Judge Jeffrey Sutton and I edited (and that features a wonderful foreword by Justice Elena Kagan). An excerpt:

A generation of law students raised on Scalia opinions is now filling the ranks of the judiciary and other branches of government. One of them is the nominee to fill Ginsburg’s seat on the court, Amy Coney Barrett, and she has indicated that Scalia’s “philosophy is mine too.” The essence of that philosophy is concisely reflected in this volume. The book will be especially illuminating to anyone who wants to unlock the mystery of why Ginsburg admired Scalia—or who wants to get a sense of where the Supreme Court may be headed.

Also in today’s Wall Street Journal, Chris Scalia, in “Get Ready for a Flood of Falsehoods About Originalism,” provides a very effective layman’s account of what originalism is and what it isn’t.

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